LIMA — Whether it’s the shows, the people or the family activities, between 25,000 and 30,000 International Harvester enthusiasts have found their way to the 24th annual Red Power Round Up, which is being held this week at the Allen County Fairgrounds.
For many families, especially farming ones, it’s a tradition that’s celebrated year after year.
“We’re farmers,” said Maynard Moody, 72, of Milford Center. “We live this kind of life, and grew up with this kind of equipment.”
Moody has been showing his Farmall Super M tractor for about four years now, but has been showing tractors at Red Power Round Up events for more than a decade. His big, red tractor is 60 years old, but it shines like new. He has grandsons that are showing tractors of their own, too. Exhibitors typically restore their equipment to pristine condition.
The event runs through Saturday and features more than 1,500 tractors from exhibitors across the country.
While the tractors displayed are mostly a bright, candy apple red, some of the tractors are a little more dynamic in size and color. Some women excitedly snapped pictures of a lilac colored tractor with hand-painted flowers.
Some have hauled equipment from as far as California and Florida, said Doug Etzkorn, co-chair of this year’s Red Power Round Up. He estimates people from 35 states have brought tractors to the show.
But it’s more than the equipment itself. It’s also about reuniting with people who share the same interests.
“You make friends. You go to see the people, and you meet people every year,” Etzkorn said.
And this is probably the only time the show will be held in Lima. It’s held in a different part of the country every year. Last time it was held in Ohio was in 2006, when it was held in Mansfield. It was in Illinois last year. Next year, they’ll meet in South Dakota.
Scott and Cindy Neil, of Londonderry, were exploring the fairgrounds on bicycles, pedaling towards the hundreds of tractors sitting in rows. Their “snoodle,” or schnauzer poodle mix Remy, sat happily inside Scott Neil’s bicycle basket.
“It amazes me the time and effort people take to restore six, eight tractors,” the 79-year-old farmer said. “I’ve done a few myself.”
But not this year. Now, they’re mostly looking around for fun. They’ve traveled as far as Madison, Wis. to go to shows in the past. This time around, though, they drove only a few hours. They were also impressed by the fairgrounds itself.
“This is beautiful,” said Cindy Neil.
“We thought we had a real good fairgrounds until we found this,” her husband said.
They plan to head back Friday, since the wheat at the farm they maintain will be ready to harvest by then.
Moody was also thrilled that the show was so close by this year. Only 62 miles away, he said. Normally, he travels out of state to go, and his family makes it like a vacation.
“It’s just our life,” Moody said. “And now it’s turned into a hobby.”
8 a.m:Gates open
9 a.m.: Opening ceremonies
10 a.m: Tractor Mac
11 a.m.: Tractor parade
1 p.m.: Delaware County Antique Tractor Square Dancers
2 p.m.:Saline Fiddlers of Saline, Mich.
4 p.m. Saline Fiddlers of Saline, Mich.
5 p.m.: Hi Cotton Gospel Singers
6 p.m.: Lima Area Concert Band
7:30 p.m.: Jim Boedicker of Lima
9 p.m.: Show Closes
8 a.m: Gates open
9 a.m: Opening Ceremonies
9 a.m.: Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull
10 a.m.:Hi Cotton Gospel Singers
11 a.m.: Comedy juggler and ventriloquist
12:30 p.m.: Tractor Parade
2:30 p.m.: Auction
Closing Time: When people leave